Let’s not get carried away

The fact that certain Golden Dawn deputies were released from pretrial custody – conditionally – does not in any way represent evidence of their innocence, just as their being remanded to appear before a magistrate had not meant that they were guilty of the crimes being leveled against them. If these two very simple principles were applied with professionalism and aplomb, we would have no problem today. Instead, what is essentially a case for the police and jurisprudence has become political, leading to the outbreak of an “anti-fascist struggle” and the excitement of public opinion. The motives behind this stirring up of the public may have been innocent, but all it achieved was a few high television ratings that may possibly have beaten those of the dubbed Turkish soap operas screened by the Greek channels.

The entire endeavor was defined by an inexcusable sense of haste, which basically resulted in raising the risk that part of the public would see the deputies as victims after hearing them being described as gang members in a criminal organization for three whole days.

The above, of course, in no way absolves Nikos Michaloliakos and his Golden Dawn party from any criminal charges that may be proved during the trials. What is most worrying, though, is that for the sake of scoring points with public sentiment by making a lot of noise over the course of a few days, Greece’s entire political system has been put at serious risk.

The reverberations from the arrests are intense among the ranks of New Democracy because the speed at which the case has been dealt with may push more voters from the camp of the conservatives to that of Golden Dawn, Independent Greeks or any party that may emerge to represent the popular right.

Furthermore, and beyond the hunt for high-ranking police officers connected to Golden Dawn, the parties of the left are sure to push for a full catharsis of all public order and security forces, whether justified or not.

Lastly, the fickle manner in which the decisions of judges are discussed by experts and ignoramuses alike may well create political and even internal rifts within the justice system, something that needs to be avoided at all cost.

The Golden Dawn phenomenon must be dealt with through political means, mainly by New Democracy. The tactics being applied so far can only serve to strengthen the arsenal of the left, which will seek to show connections between Golden Dawn and the state apparatus, causing further confusion.